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Foodways in early farming societies: microwear and starch grain analysis on experimental and archaeological grinding tools from Central China

woensdag 26 augustus 2020
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


This dissertation combines two different analytical methods, microwear and starch grain analysis, to investigate the uses of different types of grinding tools. The artefacts were excavated from the sites of Jiahu (c. 7000-5500 BC) and Tanghu (c. 7000-5000 BC), two of the earliest Neolithic farming communities in the central plain of China. The research focuses on addressing four research issues regarding “correlation between tool type and function”, “choices of ancient food processing techniques”, “rice processing in the early rice agricultural societies”, and “foodways in different Neolithic communities”. The findings were published in four peer-reviewed academic articles (Chapter 2 to 5). The data attained regarding Neolithic culinary practices and different uses of grinding tools allows a more nuanced and broader consideration of ancient foodways in the research region. Chapter 6 consolidates the results from the study of archaeological grinding tools and previous research to discuss the foodways of the ancient Jiahu population. In Chapter 7, a comparison of foodways at the site of Jiahu and some other Peiligang Culture sites suggests similarities and differences among these communities, reflecting the intangible cultural boundaries and interactions between these two Neolithic cultures. Overall, this dissertation highlights that Neolithic grinding tools played different roles in early farming societies, especially in food processing practices.


  • Prof.dr. A.L. van Gijn


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